The Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL) has appointed fiery human rights lawyers, Messrs Femi Falana SAN and Sam Amadi to head its two key groups.

Speaking at the recent NBA National Executive Committee (NBA-NEC) Meeting in Abuja, the Chairman of SPIDEL Governing Council, Dr. Monday Ubani stated that the Section has two main objectives which are pursuit of public interest issues and development of legal framework for accelerated economic development in the country.

He informed NEC that the leadership has established two groups, namely The Public Interest Law Group and The Development Law Group for the Section, adding that there is a strong link between law and economic development. While The Public Interest Law Group will be chaired by Mr. Femi Falana SAN, The Development Law Group will be chaired by Dr. Sam Amadi. The membership of the two groups would be announced soon.

He stated that would soon “engage in aggressive membership drive across the entire branches of the Federation. Towards this end, we have laid out a plan to appoint Coordinators and Secretaries in all the branches of the NBA. The Coordinators and Secretaries will recruit and at the same maintain existing membership of the Section in their various branches. Their second task is to help SPIDEL realize its objectives at the grassroot level in the pursuit of citizens’ rights generally.”

According to Ubani, “Membership of the Section is critical to its activities and a fulfillment of our mapped out objectives. Already we have started with aggressive gospel that every lawyer with conscience must first and foremost be a registered member of SPIDEL.

“We therefore solicit that every lawyer of conscience should without any further prompting from us register and join all the suitable committees to help actualize our dream country and legal practice. We need you and the nation needs you more as a lawyer with conscience.”

He informed NEC that the Section has set up an operational office in Abuja and employed a Program Officer to man the office. This is to accelerate the institutionalization process of the Section. The Section has also established SPIDEL Young Lawyers’ Forum. This is part of the institutionalization process and mainstreaming of SPIDEL objectives in the consciousness of young lawyers. “We must consciously and strategically groom our young lawyers to take the legal profession to the next level,” he said.

The Chairman stated that SPIDEL would engage in strategic litigation to push the frontiers of public interest, adding that this would be in collaboration with other NBA Sections and Committees such as the Public Interest Litigation Committee. According to Ubani, the recent Practice Direction issued by the Federal High Court in favour of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), a prospective litigant, “requires timely intervention by NBA as the only body that stands as a bulwark against oppression by any government in power.”

On the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria, the SPIDEL Chairman said that the Section is collaborating with the Public Interest Litigation Committee to seek legal reliefs, even as Ubani had in his personal capacity filed a lawsuit against the action.

He listed other thematic areas for the new SPIDEL leadership to include Niger Delta Development Project, Promoting the Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Federalism Project, and 2023 General Election.

Ubani informed the meeting that NBA President, Mr. Olumide Akpata launched a human rights App at the just concluded NBA-SPIDEL Annual Conference in Ibadan code-named “SOROSOKE”. The App is to aid victims of human rights abuses in reporting and tracking such abuses. He said that SPIDEL members at the branch level “would be utilised effectively to seek reliefs on behalf of victims of human rights’ abuses throughout Nigeria.”

He stated that the Section held a successful election after its sold-out Annual Conference, commending members of the Conference Planning Committee which he led as well as the Local Organising Committee and NBA Ibadan Branch “for a job well done.” According to Ubani, the election “marked the end of the eventful tenure of Prof. Paul Ananaba SAN.”

The Council consists of Ubani as Chairman, Dr. Princess Chukwuani (Secretary), Mr. Steve Abah (Vice Chairman), and Ms. Funmi Adeogun (Treasurer). Other Council Members are Dr. Paul Ebiala, Mr. Emeka Nwadioke, Ms. Anne Agi, Chief Kunle Adegoke SAN, Mr. Kunle Edun, Mr. Abdullahi Karaye, Mrs. Igbeaku Evulukwu, Mr. Echo Godfrey, Mr. Kola Omotinugbon and Prof. Paul Ananaba SAN.

The report was received by Akpata. Meanwhile, some NEC members commended the new SPIDEL leadership for paying attention to the Development Law mandate of the Section as well as its resolve to appoint Coordinators at the branch level.

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